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Unwired looks to wholesale partners for growth

Unwired looks to wholesale partners for growth

Unwired is touting the indirect sales channel as its strongest growth area this year, announcing plans to recruit new wholesale partners for its wireless broadband service.

The decision comes on the back of its half-yearly results, which showed the company recording $5.4 million in operating revenue from its Sydney-based network. Its net loss for the half year period was $21.2 million.

Representing just seven per cent of its total sales in the past six months, CEO, David Spence, said the wholesale business would grow faster than retail sales in 2005. The company was focusing on increasing its indirect channel now that the Unwired brand was established in retail, he said.

To support this growth, the vendor has set up two new teams to service the area. A technical support team has been formed to develop solutions with its resellers, while a new wholesale team will be dedicated to supporting the channel.

Over the seven months from its launch in August last year, Unwired increased its channel beyond initial distributors, People Telecom and Veritel, to include new ISPs such as Exetel. The wireless provider is now negotiating a wholesale deal with AAPT and is looking for new channel partners, Spence said.

Figures from market analysts at IDC, for August 1 to December 31, credits Unwired with 13,766 customer sign-ups during the period. This equates to a 17 per cent share of new customers in the residential Sydney broadband market.

However, reacing its declared break even number of 70,000 customers could be tough, IDC analyst, Landry Fevre, said.

"The challenge now for them is to get the scale and this will involve a grab for market share," he said.

Unwired -- along with Personal Broadband Australia, Access Providers and Big Air -- could find grabbing customers from Telstra and Optus more difficult in the maturing Sydney market, he said.

As established telcos react to improve broadband offerings and move towards 1Mbps plus wireless speeds, raising capital expenditure will again become a factor for proprietary vendors, Fevre said. Customers could also expect to see more flexible contracts as the technology changes, he said.


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